How to Enable TLS 1.3 in Nginx CWP/Centos 7/Centos 8/EL7/El8

by Sandeep B.

In this tutorial we’ll Build NGINX from source and enable TLS 1.3 in Linux server. TLS 1.3 is secure and fast TLS protocol till now it have its own benefits like security and performance, the website using TLS 1.3 loads faster and is more secure.

Transportation Layer Security (TLS) 1.3 protocol provides unparalleled privacy and performance compared to previous versions of TLS and non-secure HTTP. Performance has a major impact on user experience. TLS 1.3 represents a pivotal turning point for HTTPS performance. Modern mobile networks will routinely add over 100ms of latency to each request. TLS 1.3 makes page load times significantly faster for mobile devices, improving the user experience for your visitors.

To build Nginx from source we need to remove any nginx installed from other sources like from official repository or from 3rdpart repository.

Step 1 :

First backup current nginx dir which contains configurations and vhosts :

cp -r /etc/nginx /etc/nginx.bak

Step 2 :

Remove Nginx :

yum remove nginx*

Step 3 :

Downloading dependencies and openssl :

Install deps from yum /centos7/8/el7/8 :

yum install -y perl perl-devel perl-ExtUtils-Embed libxslt libxslt-devel libxml2 libxml2-devel gd gd-devel GeoIP GeoIP-devel

PCRE download :

cd /usr/local/src
rm -rf pcre*
wget https://ftp.pcre.org/pub/pcre/pcre-8.44.zip
unzip pcre-8.44.zip

ZLIB download :

cd /usr/local/src
rm -rf zlib*
wget https://www.zlib.net/zlib-1.2.11.tar.gz
tar zxvf zlib-1.2.11.tar.gz

Download openssl :

cd /usr/local/src
rm -rf openssl*
wget https://www.openssl.org/source/openssl-1.1.1k.tar.gz
tar zxvf openssl-1.1.1k.tar.gz

Step 3 :

Building Nginx from source :

cd /usr/local/src
rm -rf nginx*
wget http://nginx.org/download/nginx-1.20.0.tar.gz
tar zxvf nginx-1.20.0.tar.gz
cd nginx-1.20.0
./configure --prefix=/etc/nginx --sbin-path=/usr/sbin/nginx --modules-path=/usr/lib64/nginx/modules --conf-path=/etc/nginx/nginx.conf --error-log-path=/var/log/nginx/error.log --pid-path=/var/run/nginx.pid --lock-path=/var/run/nginx.lock --user=nginx --group=nginx --build=CentOS --builddir=nginx-custom --with-select_module --with-poll_module --with-threads --with-file-aio --with-http_ssl_module --with-http_v2_module --with-http_realip_module --with-http_addition_module --with-http_xslt_module=dynamic --with-http_image_filter_module=dynamic --with-http_geoip_module=dynamic --with-http_sub_module --with-http_dav_module --with-http_flv_module --with-http_mp4_module --with-http_gunzip_module --with-http_gzip_static_module --with-http_auth_request_module --with-http_random_index_module --with-http_secure_link_module --with-http_degradation_module --with-http_slice_module --with-http_stub_status_module --http-log-path=/var/log/nginx/access.log --http-client-body-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/client_temp --http-proxy-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/proxy_temp --http-fastcgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/fastcgi_temp --http-uwsgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/uwsgi_temp --http-scgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/scgi_temp --with-mail=dynamic --with-mail_ssl_module --with-stream=dynamic --with-stream_ssl_module --with-stream_realip_module --with-stream_geoip_module=dynamic --with-stream_ssl_preread_module --with-compat --with-pcre=/usr/local/src/pcre-8.44 --with-pcre-jit --with-zlib=/usr/local/src/zlib-1.2.11 --with-openssl=/usr/local/src/openssl-1.1.1k --with-openssl-opt=no-nextprotoneg --with-debug  
make && make install

Step 4 :

Now copy the config from the backup done before :

cat /etc/nginx.bak/nginx.conf > /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Step 5 :

Creating systemed service file for nginx and disable nginx to install via yum package manager :

now create the systemed service file for nginx :

nano /usr/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service

and paste this to it and save :

[Unit]
Description=nginx - high performance web server
Documentation=https://nginx.org/en/docs/
After=network-online.target remote-fs.target nss-lookup.target
Wants=network-online.target

[Service]
Type=forking
PIDFile=/var/run/nginx.pid
ExecStartPre=/usr/sbin/nginx -t -c /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
ExecStart=/usr/sbin/nginx -c /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
ExecReload=/bin/kill -s HUP $MAINPID
ExecStop=/bin/kill -s TERM $MAINPID

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Disable nginx in yum/dnf package manager for not to override your compiled nginx [important] :

Centos 7/el7 :

cat /etc/yum.conf |grep "^exclude="|grep nginx 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null || echo 'exclude=nginx*' >> /etc/yum.conf 

Centos 8/el8 :

cat /etc/dnf/dnf.conf |grep "^exclude="|grep nginx 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/null || echo 'exclude=nginx*' >> /etc/dnf/dnf.conf 

Step 6 :

Enabling TLSv1.3 in nginx :

Now we’ll add TLS 1.3 entry in all nginx vhost and in nginx.conf

sed -i 's/TLSv1.2;/TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;/g' /etc/nginx/nginx.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/vhosts/*.conf
systemctl restart nginx
systemctl enable nginx

for CWP run this instead :

sed -i 's/TLSv1.2;/TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;/g' /etc/nginx/nginx.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/vhosts/*.conf /usr/local/cwpsrv/htdocs/resources/conf/web_servers/main/nginx/conf/nginx.conf
systemctl restart nginx
systemctl enable nginx

** in CWP you need to do some extra steps which is mentioned below in Step

If you’re not using CWP then you’re done configuring TLS 1.3

Step 7 :

ONLY FOR CWP :

Ensure you create proper template for nginx in CWP else on every webserver build or ssl renew TLS 1.3 will be disabled

you need to copy the existing templates (tpl and stpl) and edit the stpl file and replace this line with new one :

ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;

with

ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;

that is only TLSv1.3 is need to be added before Semicolons ;

for example if you’re using default template for website you need to copy default templates to custom name example default-tls13.tpl and default-tls13.stpl ensure you’re using this template as a default for all domains and sub domain else tls 1.3 will not work by going to CWP.admin >> Webserver settings >> WEbservers Main conf choose Nginx default Vhost template from drop down menu which you created via below commands (default-tls13/force-https-http2-tls13). If you’re using php-fpm + nginx do the same for Nginx default PHP-FPM template

to copy the template to custom name do this :

cd /usr/local/cwpsrv/htdocs/resources/conf/web_servers/vhosts/nginx
cp -r default.stpl default-tls13.stpl
cp -r default.tpl default-tls13.tpl
sed -i 's/TLSv1.2;/TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;/g' default-tls13.tpl default-tls13.stpl

** you can replace the “default” with the template name like for http2 “force-https-http2” template just replace “default” word eg :

cd /usr/local/cwpsrv/htdocs/resources/conf/web_servers/vhosts/nginx
cp -r force-https-http2.stpl force-https-http2-tls13.stpl
cp -r force-https-http2.tpl force-https-http2-tls13.tpl
sed -i 's/TLSv1.2;/TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;/g' force-https-http2-tls13.tpl force-https-http2-tls13.stpl

*** if you’re using nginx + fpm go to “/usr/local/cwpsrv/htdocs/resources/conf/web_servers/vhosts/nginx/php-fpm” dir and do the same for it too as above.

After running the above command lock this files if you don’t change nginx main config and Hostname of the server :

chattr +i /etc/nginx/conf.d/hostname-ssl.conf /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

If you want to change nginx main conf or change the server hostname just unlock this files and then rebuild webserver config or vhost :

chattr -i /etc/nginx/conf.d/hostname-ssl.conf /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

***after edit and webserver rebuild or vhost rebuild just lock the files again.

To check TLS 1.3 is enabled or not go to this post at the end there some instructions upon how to check

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4 comments

Rafael Monge May 13, 2021 - 8:07 pm

Thank you! How could I disable TLS 1 and TLS 1.1 in my CWP, I’m using Nginx & Varnish & Apache with Force Apache to use PHP-FPM Selector option.

I get “enable” in red for those outdated protocols so I want to disable them.

Reply
Sandeep B. May 15, 2021 - 9:43 pm

hello
check this for more info about disabling tls 1.0 and 1.1
https://www.mysterydata.com/get-a-score-rating-with-ssllabs-qualys-in-cwp-control-web-panel/

Reply
hakan November 10, 2021 - 9:22 pm

I am using cloudflare. Is it enough to open the TLS 1.3 part or do we have to do these operations?

Reply
Sandeep B. November 12, 2021 - 3:34 am

Hi when using cloudflare you can manage TLS options from cloudflare dashboard.

Reply

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